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Who Needs a Computer?

Entry 1630, on 2014-02-24 at 22:45:14 (Rating 1, Computers)

Recently my previously trusty MacBook Pro laptop has been giving me a few issues. Actually, those more observant readers of this blog will know the same machine also gave me "a few issues" about a year ago in March 2013 when a faulty hard drive cable caused corruption of the system disk, but apart from that it has worked reliably for 4 years (and I still think Apple makes the most reliable hardware). Also remember that this machine has been given a good test because I use it a lot every day and take it everywhere with me.

Anyway, this time I have a really annoying and baffling problem. The machine randomly wakes up and overheats when it is sitting in my bag. Plus the overheating seems to have lead to random errors on the SSD and possibly some bad memory too. It's a bit of a concern because I know of a PC laptop which do something similar and totally destroyed itself.

The machine still works OK most of the time but I am avoiding using it until a replacement turns up - a build-to-order MacBook Pro 15 inch with retina screen which will take a few weeks (because it's a custom build). So that means I am doing as much as possible on my iPad instead (as much as an experiment as it is an attempt to use the laptop less).

So how's it going? Well, some things are going really well and others not so good. The iPad is great for many things, such as web browsing, reading and writing emails, watching movies, posting on Facebook and Twitter, making short notes, storing and viewing photos, and casual gaming. But I can't use it for programming, designing databases, or even creating web sites. Theoretically, I might be able to do some of those things but it wouldn't be easy.

But you might note that the things that I mentioned working well on the iPad are the things that most people use a computer for, and the other stuff is more specialised and geeky. So I think an iPad would be a good choice for many people instead of a computer. Maybe that's why computer sales are slumping while tablet (especially iPad) sales are booming, and why Apple out-sold every other PC manufacturer combined if you count the iPad as a computer (not a totally fair comparison I agree, but an interesting one).

Since I got the iPad Air I have found myself using it a lot, even before the laptop developed its fault. Why? because it's so light and thin but the screen is still a usable size. The battery life is very good. The high resolution screen is gorgeous. The speed is impressive and well balanced between processing, graphics, storage, and networking. It's a fantastic product where I think Apple has created just about the best possible balance between weight and ruggedness, speed and battery life, and functionality and simplicity. Yeah, I know, it is kind of expensive, but just use one for a while and most people agree it is worth it.

I think the trend of using more tablets will continue and it might get to the point quite quickly when only IT experts, engineers, and some other professionals still use conventional computers. And while a tablet has the same sorts of functions as a computer it does them differently, so I don't think the Microsoft approach of merging the laptop and tablet gives the best result, although I can see some merit in the idea.

The thing is it has really got to the point now where I can't decide which of my toys I love the most: my MacBook Pro, my iPad, or my iPhone. They are all beautiful (yes, I still love my Mac laptop even when it is misbehaving) and they all work perfectly in their own areas. All I need now is an iWatch to complete the set!


Comment 1 (3889) by Anonymous on 2014-03-03 at 13:55:38:

Any comments on keyboards for iPad?


Comment 2 (3891) by OJB on 2014-03-03 at 17:16:10:

Yes, one of my favourite topics for a rant, in fact. With a bit of practice you can type almost as quickly on the iPad's "virtual" keyboard, so why would you want the additional weight, complexity, cost, etc of a "real" keyboard. If that's the way you want to work get a lightweight laptop instead - I would suggest a MacBook Air.


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